(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Gay Genius"

THE BULL-HEADED PREMIER                   103

demanded the recall to power of the dismissed censors and the cashier-
ing of Leeding and Huiching, known as the power behind Wang
Anshih. When Chang Chien went up to the premier's office to press
^iis case, he found Wang Anshih in a curious state of mind. The latter
listened to him without saying a word, but was laughing behind a fan
held before his face.

"I do not doubt," said the censor, "that you are laughing at me for
my stupidity. But you should be aware that there are many more
people in the country who are laughing at you."

Another important censor to fall at the same time was Cheng Hao,
the elder of the two "Cheng brothers", great neo-Confucianist
philosophers of the Sung dynasty. Cheng Hao had co-operated with
Wang intimately in the early days of the reforms. Now he also went
40 the premier's office to fight the case out with Wang personally. The
latter had just read his memorandum, and the caller found him in a
state of uncontrollable rage. Philosophically, the neo-Confucianist said:
"Look here, my friend, we are not fighting over personal or family
affairs; we are discussing the affairs of the country. Can we not talk
in a calm and dispassionate manner?" By all Confucian standards,
Wang lost face and felt ashamed of himself.

Within a few weeks the purge of the censorate was complete. With
the six censors who had been cashiered in the previous year, the total
of dismissed censors was now fourteen, eleven in the censorate and
"three in the palace. Szema Kuang warned the Emperor in unmistak-
able terms. Only three persons, Wang, Tseng Pu, and Lu Huiching,
were for the new reform measures, and the entire court was against
them. "Is His Imperial Majesty going to make up the government and
the nation with these three persons?" Han Chi and Chang Fangping
had quit in February; Szema Kuang had refused a post as privy
councillor and was degraded in the same month; Fan Chen had left
in anger. In September the vacillating Chao Pien, the cabinet minister
who had for a time been inclined to favour the new regime, now
decided to resign. He to pointed out that "the farmers' loans and the
appointment of tax-commissioners are by comparison small matters, but
the choice of the right men to assist the Emperor in his government is a
matter of far greater consequence." A few months later, aged, fatalistic,
imperturbable Tseng Kungliang, who had ascribed Wang's rise to
power to "God's will", resigned in disgust, giving old age as his excuse,
but in reality partly under fire j from the critics. By December 1070,
Wang Anshih was formally made premier and was placed in an un-
challenged position at the head of the whole government. la June of
the following year Ouyang Shiu resigned all his posts in the govern-
ment and went to live in retirement.

*****